I think many of us suffering with a mental disturbance are so utterly consumed by what is happening in the brain that we pay no attention whatsoever to our physical wellbeing. A certain amount of naivety and arrogance is to blame for ignoring physical complaints and there is that feeling that they will go away with time. However, physical complaints run hand in hand with mental complaints, and headaches are very common for bi-polics. It is the body’s way of telling us to get back in alignment. For me these physical challenges (trying to be positive here as it has actually been a total nightmare) have manifested themselves in chronic neck and back pain, appalling headaches/migraines and sciatica.

Chronic pain means a pain that is on-going, rather than an acute flare up, and has therefore gone beyond the term of an injury or painful stimulus. Of course everyone feels pain differently so it is hard to put a marker on it. Sometimes I think my pain threshold must be quite low but my tolerance for continual pain is high especially where the headaches are concerned. (See H as they require a separate chapter and have been hauntingly pivotal in my bi-polar experience). These aches and pains are all interlinked and I have spent years of my life and thousands of pounds trying to find pain relief.  The amount of time and money spent visiting different physiotherapists, osteopaths, doctors, hospitals and alternative practitioners is staggering. Worse still is that they all disagree with each other and contradict what the other professional has diagnosed and advised. Who do you trust? I went from seeing someone who was lightly massaging my neck to someone who administered violent manipulations and painful injections. You keep going until you find the one that helps…

I frequently used alcohol as temporary pain relief…

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